Nairobi — Members of Parliament who do not have university degrees on Monday breathed a sigh of relief after President Mwai Kibaki declined to sign the controversial Miscellaneous Amendment Bill as passed by Parliament last Thursday.
The President was particularly irked by amendments allowing party-hopping and the MPs degree requirement and has now returned the Bill to Parliament for amendments.
"The President refused to sign into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012 in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 46 (3) of the former Constitution. Noting that the Bill proposes to amend section 41 of the Political Parties Act 2011, President Kibaki said the matter of the consequence of defecting from political parties or changing allegiance between parties is already the subject of court petitions," a statement from the Presidential Press Service (PPS) said.
The Head of State said in keeping with the doctrine of the separation of powers, matters which are before the Court should not be the subject of legislation by the National Assembly.
"Noting that the Bill proposes to amend section 41 of the Political Parties Act 2011, President Kibaki said the matter of the consequence of defecting from political parties or changing allegiance between parties is already the subject of court petitions, among them:
(i) Petition Number 220 of 2011 Ephraim Maina -v- Attorney-General;
(ii) Petition Number 233 of 2011 Gideon Mbuvi -v- Attorney-General;
(iii) Petition Number 172 of 2011 Alexander Muthengi Muchee -v-Attorney-General;
(iv) Petition Number 198 of 2011 Johnstone Muthama -v- Attorney-General;
(v) Petition Number 254 of 2012 Isaac Aluoch Polo Aluochier -v- Attorney-General,"
President Mwai Kibaki who jetted back into the country early Monday morning from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he attended the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development immediately held talks with the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Attorney General Githu Muigai and the Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia at State House, Nairobi.
The President also rejected the Bill's proposal to amend section 22 (2) of the Elections Act to require candidates for election as a Member of Parliament to hold a degree from a university recognised in Kenya, in the same way as the President, Deputy President, County Governor or Deputy County Governor.
"He pointed out that the matter of the qualification for eligibility for election as Member of Parliament is also the subject of a court case, Petition Number 198 of 2011 Johnstone Muthama -v- Attorney-General, which challenges the original provisions of the Act relating to the requirement for post-secondary qualifications to vie for elective posts. In this connection, President Kibaki observed that the petition is still pending in court and in keeping with the doctrine of separation of powers, the issue should not be the subject of legislation by the National Assembly. He, therefore, recommended that the proposed amendment to section 22 (2) and 22(3) be deleted from the Bill," he said.
Kenyans have scoffed at parliamentarians for effecting amendments to some the Constitution implementation laws to favour their selfish ambitions and agenda.
The Law Society of Kenya had threatened to move to court if President Kibaki signed into law the controversial Bill.
Muigai had earlier defended the controversial move by Parliament to amend some crucial electoral laws through the Bill.
Speaking to reporters in his office on Friday, the AG argued that MPs were within their powers to amend the laws.
"That is the nature of law. Law is controversial and that is why you have two lawyers on two different sides of the same case, each interpreting law differently," he said.
"CIC (the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution) says there are some unconstitutional amendments; the Constitutional Oversight Committee in Parliament says there are none. Both (groups) are important, both are informed," he pointed out.
He stated that this is an indication of democracy and should be encouraged in a bid to have an all inclusive document.
"Sometimes the language of disagreement is very violent and people deny others the good faith. They deny that other person has a good faith interpretation. They arrogate to themselves the only correct interpretation. That is very regrettable," he stated.
Former Attorney General Charles Njonjo was among those who had welcomed the stand taken by MPs that those at the helm of the country's leadership must not be intellectually challenged.
Njonjo said quacks should not be allowed to lead 'smart' Kenyans.